10 December 2011

ch-check it... in

Boa tarde, chums!

Now it's real medical leave time! Various surgeries are on the docket; I'll be setting up camp at the hospital for a supposed "four to six weeks" beginning [this] Monday, 12 Dec. So, uh, barring entropy, catch you next February?

03 September 2011



wish you were here

Click. Donate. Please.

PS - I've been scraping the bottom of the health barrel all summer... I can't fight through much more than getting up and either going to the doctor or staring at computer screens, so Mr. Blog has been pretty lo-pri. Now that my PICC line is out and it's no longer Tatooine weather, maybe I can get out and push around town a bit - perhaps that will respark the energy pilot light. Anyway, apologies all around for unannounced medical leave. I'll fill you in more thoroughly when I have more than nebulous rumors and speculation. Until then...

25 June 2011


Well hello there! After weeks of choosing photos and [still] being sick, I present...

Primus! As the world knows, these dudes are at the top of the proverbial short list of my favorite bands, so I was pretty psyched when they rolled on in to play a show in STL. They performed on 29 May at The Pageant, and yes, I'm slow to post.

First up: the place is tiny. As in middle-school-gymnasium tiny. Sold-out, packed-like-sardines tiny. It was a strange, but wonderful, place for Primus to play - they've spent some time touring with stadium-size amphitheatre crowds, and the band has no problem selling out any Pretty Big Venue. But here they were, the main event at something slightly larger than a third grader's birthday party... Yay.

Openers for the evening were The Dead Kenny G's (name and attitude a juxtaposition of them and him), consisting of [Claypool's friends and frequent bandmates] Skerik (saxophones and keyboard) and Mike Dillon (drums, xylophone, vibes, anything else percussive), as well as a rotating bassist, currently Brad Houser. Again, that's Skerik, Dillon, and Mr. Houser. They put on a crazy show - Skerik on sax and keyboard at the same time! - and their music is quite wonderfully wild and unpredictable. A+ to that. On the downside, though, it's basically a prolonged wacky jam session, so songs are hard to pick out and the tunes are a bit forgettable. Oh well - what fun! It's saying something when you're not booing the openers or just wishing the headliners would hurry up and take the stage, no?

So, uh, about those headliners... Primus' performance was, most accurately, exciting. They're doing the whole promo tour thing backwards: rather than putting out an album and then touring to promote it, they're on the road to hype Green Naugahyde, which isn't even coming out until September! Grrr. Ergo, they played a fair amount of new material. I can't guarantee precisely which new tunes were played, but I can think of two fresh songs that were ho-hum at best; otherwise, the new tracks were hopefully signs of good things to come! The sound was weird, energetic, dark, and, well, generally Primus-y. As usual, with Les Claypool at the helm, it's all bass-centric.

Don't worry, though, it was still a classic Primus show! They couldn't leave the building without playing a pile of fan favorites, no creo. They hit plenty of highlights - "Seas of Cheese", "My Name Is Mud", "Tommy The Cat", "American Life", and even "Golden Boy" made appearances, among others. That list pretty much covers the beginnings of my bassery... Unfortunately, a few duds slipped in too *cough cough "Over The Electric Grapevine" cough* but hey, who's counting?

It should be noted that, as you'll see, the Colonel has a new custom bass. For those keeping track, it's another four-string fretted with tremelo, but not a Carl Thompson axe. Anyway, it's a purdy chunk-o-wood, and its super-clickety-clackety fun percussive tone thoroughly complements Les' slap-pop style. That's how it works when you help build your own weapons, I suppose.

Enough words! Let's have some eye candy. As previously mentioned, I spent quite a while choosing what not to inflict upon you - starting with 230+ snapshots, I pared it down to a cheap roll of film. Caption comes after photo; images courtesy the madre. Here goes.


First up, across the street from The Pageant we have the Pi Pizzeria; think I could get an ink discount?

Before the show, obviously. We were at the front of the not-mosh-pit section, and the people in this photo are as far forward as they could get. Cups included for scale. When the place filled up, the floor space en frente was only twelve human sardines thick - did I mention that this venue is cozy?

The Dead Kenny G's. L to R, that's Skerik, Brad Houser, and Mike Dillon xylophoning.

Another shot of the openers, with Dillon on drums this time. White suits and curly black wigs complete the Kenny G satire.

Here they come! You'll notice a depressing lack of weird masks and hats throughout the night. I guess Les is sticking with steampunk.

That's what most of the night looked like - the Colonel more or less staring at me. Groovy.

As usual, Les takes a break to mock the people up front who are flipping him off. Always amusing, but a bit too salty to quote here! Make up your own phallic jokes as necessary.

Gratuitous blurry shot! Mr. C managed to transition his rant into "Mr. Knowitall," which the obsessed would recognize here by hand position. He is so elo-quent...

Oh my, Primus is more than just Les Claypool??? It can't be! The stripey dude on guitar is Larry "Ler" LaLonde, and the invisible drummer is Jay "Jayski" Lane. Check out Les' Dobro bass.

Les explains that Ler was worried about looking "Freddy Krueger-ish" with his attire. Point well made.

Mmm, Fender Mustang guitar solo. Not so Krueger-ish. Or Kroger-ish, for that matter.

A light shone down from the heavens, and there was... Jay Lane! And it was good.

You can almost see him back there. Nobody ever said Primus shows were well-lit.

Les makes an appearance during the drum solo, armed with his one-string whamola and requisite chimpanzee mask. Really, Ler's the one worried about looking like a weirdo?

Another example of apparent eye contact. He was close enough - who knows.

Time to saw away for a few numbers. With the derby, spectacles, and vest, he's looking like 19th century Professor Claypool.


Sorry that it's inherently Mr. Blurrycam because of speed and lighting, but here's a glorious interlude of whacking the strings with the back of the bow. I can just feel whole orchestras cringing at the thought.

Ha! Through the blur, it's still classic. Foot up on the monitor; face in the bullet mic; arm muting the strings on the big fat fretless sixer; hands slapping away on the neck. You can spot "My Name Is Mud" from a mile away.

"Adonde va, el chico de la ciudad..." Slappity slappity whap.

Supposedly by request, Les 'n' Friends trot out for one more Primus staple pre-encore. I remember it as if it were a meal ago! And so does "Tommy the Cat."

Say, baby, that's a difficult song to sing and play at the same time.

The trio plays a couple of encores. Where do you get inflatable astronauts, anyway? (BTW, they're "Buzz" and "Neil")

And a final dose of stare plus blurhands. What a fun night, kind sirs.


There you go. Tune in next time for a more well-written post submitted by monkeys!

27 May 2011

fire this way

Get ready to laugh it up, fuzzballs.

"You couldn't pay me to get a Lady Gaga album!" say so many out there...

Well, apparently you can pay me, because Amazon did! After pre-ordering the approaching dcfc album on Thursday, Bezos and Friends awarded me their standard buck o' MP3 Store credit; coincidentally, that was the same day they were offering the Lady's entire "Born This Way" album as a $0.99 download. In a bout of hipster irony that only the extremely-missed Mandy would understand, I jumped on the chance.

BTW, I've run through it once now, and the music snob lightning review is that it's very rarely mildly catchy, and there's a song partially in inappropriate German, but it's mostly just crap in a hat. It is pop, after all. However, it makes me think of my lost pal and smile.

In the redeeming "music jlink actually likes" arena, Sunday is the Primus show in STL. Enjoy the contrast.

Anyway, let the jokes and rips fly. Nerf-herders.

11 April 2011

um, dois, três

As you've probably noticed, I tend to regurgitate dates here, and today is actually one to remember. Way back on 11 April 2008, a giant pile of doctors off in a faraway land routed out my nasal cavities, hacked my neck open, and traded some tissue.

That's right: three years ago, I had a stem cell transplant.

Crazy! Since then, it's been a wild ride. I'm obviously not skipping down the sidewalk and typing 100 wpm again yet, but my life is drastically improved compared to the pre-surgery days. Remember, my spinal cord injury is C4-C5 level. I "should" barely be able to move my arms. Now I have at least minimal voluntary muscle control down to the abdominal/gluteal level. I haven't used the power chair since 2009. I used to have only enough lung power and breath control to whistle for about three seconds; now I can consistently hit and sustain that elusive low C. So much dreamlike stuff is unbelievably happening.

So, yes, progress is agonizingly slow. Feeling "lucky to be alive" is often a stretch. However, the progress seems to be unstoppable. Weekly, even daily, new and weird advancements come out of nowhere. Relative to how I was... Wow.


19 February 2011

genetically, a little birdy told me...

Osteoporosis is a bother. I'll tell you more when I'm a few standard deviations closer to menopause (laugh it up, DXA techs and rheumatologists).

16 January 2011

coding one

Hello, strangers! Here, have some words.

I can't say I've been up to much, which is a pretty poor excuse for not writing. Exercise options are a bit limited in the land of rural coldness. I mostly lounge around stretching muscles as much as possible, occasionally turning off the power-assist on my wheels and attempting to push in circles around my room. That, uh, obviously doesn't last very long. I think the whole place is uphill...

I guess I'm halfway proud to say I made it through "the holidays" on mere Vicodin? I don't remember if I mentioned earlier - I'm not looking back in the logs, so I'll just tell you again - over the summer I switched pain meds from oxycodone (the magic in OxyContin) to hydrocodone+acetaminophen, a.k.a. The Big V. Those of you who are for whatever reason familiar with this stuff gather that for me, after taking oxycodone for 5.5 years, dropping down to hydrocodone is akin to replacing morphine with baby aspirin. Aaaanyway, going through all those wintertime rendezvous while relying on a medicine that only cuts about 80% of the pain mustard was neither particularly palatable nor reflexively expected, but somehow it happened. Okay, I guess that was the whole story. Woohoo.

Ha, I know what I can use as paper-thin excuses for blogsilence! First, I recently upped to Windows 7 (and switched back to openSUSE; tough luck, Ubuntu et al), and I fiiinally got my grimy little mitts on a new and compatible version of Dragon. Ignore the part where I can't remember writing a single blog post using dictation/voice-recog software, and that excuse will fly... I won't extol the virtues of typing instead of talking at the moment; for now, just notice how poorly written this post is. Further, I only recently picked up a mic that is actually decent enough for regular use. In fact, I've updated quite a few of my audio toys to the point of overkill, but again, I'll save those details for another day.

My other excuse? One acronym: RSS. It owns my soul.

Speaking of, I have articles to read. Rocket.